ARSENAL need to win by two or more in Greece to clinch Champions League qualification. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) gives us his thoughts.
Olympiakos v Arsenal | Wednesday 19:45 | BT Sport Europe
There was a sense of inevitability about this. From as far back as Matchday 3 it looked like this might be the scenario, Arsenal needing to win at Olympiakos by more than one goal to qualify.
After their shambles of a start in the autumn when they lost to both Dinamo Zagreb (away) and Olympiakos (home) Arsenal have been playing catch up. They’ve had to beat Bayern Munich at the Emirates just to find themselves in this position. Bit like running your personal best just to keep up with the pace!
Most of the previews I’ve read so far are all backing Arsenal to get through but it would be folly to dismiss the chances of Olympiakos with their brilliant home record.
In the last three seasons of the Champions League their home record reads P9 W7 D0 L2. Their hit list is very impressive. Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Manchester United. The two defeats came against Bayern Munich (0-3) and PSG (1-4) so there is an angle there for Arsenal to exploit.
So with these results in mind, if Olympiakos play to form then Arsenal will have to put up one of their finest European performances. Is that beyond them? No, because this club have a habit of pulling off amazing results in Europe that ultimately though are in vain.
Last year they won 2-0 in Monaco after losing 3-1 at the Emirates in the opening leg, falling just short on away goals. The two seasons before that they were unbeaten in Munich against Bayern, winning 2-0 in 2013 and drawing there in 2014. Both times they were still eliminated.
Even in the preceding two seasons to these, Arsenal produced astonishing (but ultimately fruitless) results. The home win over Barcelona in 2011 and the 3-0 Emirates win over AC Milan the following year. All just falling short.
I think we could see a similar thing happen here and under these extraordinary circumstances I’m happy to back Arsenal at odds against. I’m not saying they’ll go through by any means as I wouldn’t be shocked if Olympiakos scored. After all this is a side who’ve won all 13 of their league games this season and sit 13 points clear at the top of the Greek table.
I think it could be another agonising night for Arsenal overall but a win is very possible. Remember this is a side that have crushed Milan and beat Bayern in London and Munich.
The Gunners always push themselves hard to stay afloat but sometimes that’s not enough. Something similar on Wednesday I think could be likely in Greece.
Olympiakos v Arsenal – Arsenal to win (11/10)
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